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Environment

Cost-Effective Use of Sustainable Cementitious Materials as Reactive Filter Media (Phase I)

This project is addressing two important environmental issues by evaluating the use of crushed fines from recycled concrete to treat wastewater containing high levels of chlorides. Chlorides from deicer use are a significant source of runoff contamination. Chlorides are highly soluble, non-degradable, difficult to remove, and tend to accumulate over time. In addition, chlorides can combine with heavy metals, rendering many of them more water soluble and therefore more damaging to soils, vegetation, wildlife, and aquatic species. The second issue is that construction and demolition waste is the largest single source of all generated municipal solid waste. The EPA has reported that in 2013 335 million tons of concrete demolition waste were generated in the U.S., of which an estimated 10 percent could not be recycled for new construction. This project will evaluate the effectiveness of crushed fines from recycled concrete (CFRCs), followed by nano-modified cement paste powder (NMCPP), and use them as reactive filter media to treat synthetic wastewater with high levels of chlorides and typical levels of total phosphorus, total nitrogen and metals. The researchers will also explore the mechanisms underlying contaminant removal by these engineered sorbents.

Principal Investigator: Xianming Shi, Civil and Environmental Engineering, WSU
Sponsor: Center for Environmentally Sustainable Transportation in Cold Climates
Scheduled completion: June 2018

Design of Coarse Bands and Channel Shape for Stream Simulation Culverts

This project is working to establish guidelines for placing coarse bands in streambed simulation culverts to maintain the form of the stream channel and enhance fish passage. At road crossings, restoring fish passage is recognized as a key priority. Stream simulation is one of the design methods that are allowed, and one kind of stream simulation utilizes coarse bands, which are relatively thin regions of sediment that are coarser than the natural streambed material and are placed horizontal to the flow to enhance stream channel stability. They are intended to simulate the natural stream in terms of both bed material and geometry. Of the 3,175 fish passage structures that WSDOT owns, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife has determined that 60 percent are barriers to fish passage. More than 800 of these structures must be fixed by 2030, and many will be replaced with stream simulation culverts. Results of this project will include recommendations for the layout, dimensions, and composition of the coarse bands to maximize longevity of the simulated streambed. A key component of this project will also be a standardized procedure for quantifying the performance of a simulated streambed.

Principal Investigator: Nicholas Engdahl, Civil and Environmental Engineering, WSU
Sponsor: WSDOT
WSDOT Technical Monitor: Julie Heilman
WSDOT Project Manager: Jon Peterson
Scheduled completion: June 2020

Ferry Vessel Propeller Wash Effects on Scour at Terminal Structures

This project is looking to improve the state\’s understanding of the hydrodynamic processes that produce ferry-induced scour at Washington State Ferry (WSF) terminals. The researchers are measuring ferry propeller wash and turbulence at WSF terminals to determine the potential for erosion of the nearby seabed. They are looking at two ferry terminals, Edmonds and Kingston, where erosion is a particular issue, but will use existing soil data, bathymetric data, and vessel power characteristics, together with information from new prop-wash measurements, to develop ways to predict scour potential for a range of tidal and wind conditions, soil types, terminal configurations, and, potentially, vessel types.

Principal Investigators:
Alexander Horner-Devine, Civil and Environmental Engineering, UW
Peter Mackenzie-Helnwein, Civil and Environmental Engineering, UW

Sponsor: WSDOT
WSDOT Technical Monitor: Chris Stearns
WSDOT Project Manager: Jon Peterson
Scheduled completion: June 2019

Identification and Treatment of Toxicants in Highway Runoff Using Green Stormwater Infrastructure and Bioassays

Contaminated stormwater runoff is a pervasive threat to aquatic animals. In the Pacific Northwest, urban road runoff causes high rates of pre-spawning mortality in adult coho salmon returning to streams that receive urban runoff. Unfortunately, few roadway runoff treatment technologies have been evaluated for their ability to protect aquatic organisms, in part because of knowledge gaps about toxicant characteristics and the lack of cost-effective screening techniques for water quality assessment. The objectives of this pilot study are to understand how roadway runoff treatment technologies can address acute toxicants in runoff, to validate the treatment performance of green stormwater technologies commonly used for roadway runoff, and to chemically characterize untreated and treated runoff samples.  Accurate chemical characterization and effective stormwater treatment methods can improve state and federal transportation agencies’ ability to minimize the effects of runoff on protected aquatic species and streamline the project permitting process.

Principal Investigators:
Jenifer McIntyre, School of the Environment, WSU
Edward P. Kolodziej, Civil and Environmental Engineering, UW

Sponsor: WSDOT
WSDOT Technical Monitor: Richard Gersib
WSDOT Project Manager: Jon Peterson
Scheduled completion: June 2019

Modeling Environmental Factors Affecting the Frequency of Wildlife-Vehicle Collisions in the Methow Valley, Washington, to Inform Engineering Solutions

Across Washington state, the average annual number of deer carcasses attributed to deer-vehicle collisions that were removed from state and federal highways between 2009 and 2014 exceeded 3,500 per year. Repeat mule deer-vehicle collisions have been documented in eastern Washington, including high levels along State Route 20 in Washington’s Methow Valley. WSDOT, in partnership with NGOs and other agencies, is working to identify where to install engineering solutions to reduce deer-vehicle collisions there. The objectives of this project are to determine the environmental factors associated with the frequency of deer-vehicle collisions, expand our understanding of why deer-vehicle collisions occur, and provide management recommendations to reduce the frequency of deer-vehicle collisions. To accomplish those goals, the researchers are quantifying expected frequencies of deer-vehicle collisions along SR 20, tracking individual deer encounters with proximity to the highway right-of-way, assessing the status of historical and current mule deer migration corridors, quantifying roadway and roadside landscape and habitat features, and creating a model and map of deer-vehicle collision risk across the SR 20 study area.

Principal Investigator: Jeffrey Manning, School of the Environment, WSU
Sponsor: WSDOT
WSDOT Technical Manager: Piper Petit
WSDOT Project Manager: Jon Peterson
Scheduled completion: December 2019

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